no. 1 Women’s Tennis preview: Texas State

no. 1 TEXAS (0-0, 0-0 Big 12) vs. Texas State (0-1, 0-0 Sun Belt)

When: Sunday, Jan. 23 (3 p.m. CT)

Where: Texas Tennis Center (Austin, Texas)

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Team Rankings: Texas is No. 1 in the latest ITA Collegiate Division I team national rankings (Jan. 19). This marks the third consecutive poll that the Longhorns have held the top spot in the rankings. UT earned the No. 1 spot in last year’s final poll and was tabbed No. 1 in the preseason poll this year on Jan. 5. Texas has finished each of the last four years in the Top 10 of the final national polls (No. 6 in 2018, No. 9 in 2019, No. 4 in 2020 and No. 1 in 2021).

Individual Rankings: Two UT players are included in the current ITA national Top 125 singles rankings (Dec. 8): Kylie Collins (No. 40) and Malaika Rapolu (No. 117). A pair of Longhorns are also tabbed in the current ITA national Top 60 doubles rankings (Dec. 8): Charlotte Chavatipon and Kylie Collins.

Solid Start in Miami: Texas recorded a total of 10 singles and two doubles wins during the three-day Miami Invitational (Jan. 15-17) in Coral Gables, Fla. Sophomores Peyton Stearns and Kylie Collins each finished with perfect 3-0 marks in singles, while sophomores Charlotte Chavatipon and Malaika Rapolu both registered 2-1 records in singles. Collins notched wins over three ranked opponents, defeating No. 25 Abigail Rencheli of NC State (2-6, 6-1, 6-4), No. 96 Marcella Cruz of Vanderbilt (6-3, 6-3) and No. 76 Isabella Pfennig of Miami (3-6, 6-4, 6-4). Stearns earned an impressive 6-4, 6-3 victory against No. 8 Jaeda Daniel of NC State and a 6-4, 6-0 win over No. 112 Anessa Lee of Vanderbilt. Rapolu added a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory against No. 119 Holly Staff of Vanderbilt.

Host Site for ITA Kickoff Weekend: Texas will once again host a regional site for the ITA Kickoff Weekend at the Texas Tennis Center. The Longhorns will face Florida Atlantic on Friday, Jan. 28 (11 am CT) and either SMU or Rice on Saturday, Jan. 29 (2 pm CT). The winners of the single-elimination event advance to the ITA Division I National Team Indoor Championships on Feb. 11-14 in Madison, Wis.

Big 12 Preseason Favorite: Texas is picked to win the Big 12 Conference title in a preseason vote of the league coaches. Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own teams. Texas was selected as the preseason Big 12 favorite for a fourth-consecutive year and fifth time in the poll’s history. UT was the unanimous favorite among the other head coaches, receiving all nine first-place votes and 81 points in polling for the upcoming 2022 season. Baylor ranked second with 68 points and one first-place vote, while Oklahoma was tabbed third with 66 points. Rounding out the poll in descending order are Oklahoma State (60), Iowa State (48), Texas Tech (39), Kansas (35), TCU (29), Kansas State (24) and West Virginia (9).

Dual Match Streak: Texas enters the 2022 spring season sporting a 24-match win streak. Texas closed its 2021 NCAA Championship run by winning its final 24 matches of the year. UT’s last loss came in a 4-3 thriller to then-No. 1 North Carolina in the championship match of the ITA Indoor Championship on Feb. 7, 2021.

Big 12 Streak: Texas owns a current 31-match win streak in Big 12 regular-season dual matches. The Longhorns have not dropped a conference regular-season contest since a 4-2 loss at Baylor on April 12, 2017.

Home Success at the TTC: The Longhorns are in their fifth year at the Texas Tennis Center. UT has registered a 41-3 mark in dual matches at the TTC, including a perfect 15-0 record in Big 12 regular-season matches. During its inaugural season in 2018, Texas went 13-0 at home (5-0 in Big 12 play). The Longhorns went 8-2 at the TTC in 2019 (3-0 Big 12) and 7-1 in the shortened 2020 season (2-0 Big 12). UT posted a perfect 13-0 mark at the TTC in 2021 (5-0 Big 12).

Joffe in Year Seven: Head Coach Howard Joffe is in its seventh season leading the UT program. The 2021 ITA Division I Women’s National Coach of the Year, Joffe has registered a 115-32 (.782) mark in his previous six years at Texas and a 246-93 (.726) record in 14 previous seasons as a collegiate head coach . He has helped four Longhorns earn a total of five ITA All-America honors in singles (Breaunna Addison in 2016, Bianca Turati in 2018, Anna Turatic and Bianca Turati in 2020 and Peyton Stearns in 2021) and one duo earn ITA All-America accolades in doubles (Kylie Collins and Lulu Sun in 2021), while 12 of his UT players have registered a combined 15 All-Big 12 singles and 14 All-Big 12 doubles selections.

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